I really like the New England Culinary Institute but I am a bit nervous as their selection process is very strict from what it sounds like. I personally do not have any professional kitchen experience so I have begun to volunteer at my local city mission in the kitchen. To gain experience. As a cook, I love doing it and I definitely know that I can take it further as a career. Sadly the town I live in doesn't have any good places that I can work at to gain valuable experience in the kitchen. So I am curious, how hard is it to get into NECI? What do I exactly need to do in order to get accepted into this school? I am planning to go for the certificate program as that's about as much as financial aid will help me out with. I would love to take an assoc degree but it's 72K with room and board. So that's definitely out of the water. The reason why I want to join NECI is because it is hands on and no classroom work. The other reason I like it is; because you get to deal with the local farmers and build relationships. But I am not dead set on NECI. If any of you know any other good recommendations for culinary schools out there that have more hands on training than anything else, I am all ears. I've checked out CIA, but you need at least 1 year in the kitchen. (So that's out of the question) Sorry for the long post and my horrible grammar, sentence structure. Thanks for all the help. Cheers!